Wheatley Alumni Newsletter:  Number 24:  October 27, 2018

Dear Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,

Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 24.

Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (1963), you can regale yourself with the first twenty-three newsletters (and other Wheatley data and arcana) at http://www.wheatleyalumni.org/  Alternatively, if you are completely uninterested in Wheatley matters, please don't hesitate to ask me to remove you from my general distribution list.

Once again, I have allowed myself the liberty of editing all submissions, even material in quotes, for clarity and concision, without any indication thereof.


Fred Apgar – Former Athletic Director

Writes Fred – “Thank you for your recent Wheatley School Alumni Newsletter.  I am always interested in being kept up to date on Wheatley alumni.   I served as the Athletic Director at Wheatley for seven years, retiring in 2007, and those were the most enjoyable and productive years of my 36-year career in education.

I represent a firm in the St. Louis area that markets letter-jackets, etc.  We have an exclusive letter-jacket package for The Wheatley School community that might interest alumni, the Wheatley Booster Club, etc. We would love to have the opportunity to honor the wonderful tradition, history, and spirit of The Wheatley School.” 

Writes Art – If you are interested, please let me know, and I’ll forward the colorful Wheatley Jacket offer that Fred sent (and his contact info).  The company website is www.legacyjacketshopsuch.com; it’s e-mail address is LEGACYJACKETSHOP@GMAIL.COM; its telephone number is 206-940-7502.

Steve Ehre – Giving Credit Where Credit is Due:  Jack Devlin and Warren Loring

Writes Steve:  “Interesting that I don’t see more about two former faculty members who may be two of the most central figures in making Wheatley the great school it became: Jack Devlin and Warren Loring.  In many ways they were the guiding lights of the school. As for me, I am thrilled to still be in touch with so many students and former colleagues on FB.  It is fun to see so many like to share my posts….still tilting at windmills.  Life is good.”  [Editor’s Note – John (“Jack”) Devlin and Warren Loring were the “Curriculum Associates,” Wheatley’s term for, or, roughly, equivalent of, “Chairperson,” of the Math and Social Studies Departments, respectively.  They were not young in the early-mid 1960s, when I knew them, and they are both long deceased.  I would be happy to print any information about, or reminiscences of, them.]


1958 – 60th-Year Reunion of The Class of '58: The Very First Class

The weekend of 5-6 October began with a tour of Northside Elementary School led by the Principal, James Bloomgarden.  Most of us actually attended there, at least for several years, until Willets Road was constructed.

Then, after a lunch at Hildebrandt’s, the highlight of the weekend was a tour of our Alma Mater led by Principal Sean Feeney.  Our school looked great and according to Dr. Feeney, it is doing wonderfully in developing the next generation of graduates.  We dined at TR’s for dinner that evening.

On Saturday we spent the day touring around – some to Jones Beach to walk in the sand, others to the Nassau County Museum of Art, which has a fabulous collection.  The final dinner together was that evening at the Long Island Marriott.

As might be expected, the attendance at this weekend was “down” a little from previous reunions.  There were 12 of us there.  Here are a few pictures of some of us:


From L-to-R: Ed Brown, Bruce Clark, Dr. Feeney, Louise Crisci Krieg, Steve Nelson, Bruce Richardson



From L-to-R: Manuela Youmans Kanners, Steve Nelson, Patti Judkoff Van Gorp


From L-to-R: Stu Safft, Allan Deutscher, Joel Gold

Also attending were Dick Benfield and Bob Schnipper.  There were several other class members who intended to come but had last minute things arise that prevented them from joining us.  We are now considering when (and where) our next reunion will be.

1961 – Jerome (“Jerry”) Mintz – Still Playing (Table) Tennis

I found the account of Todd’s Strasser’s writing interesting, in part because I remember playing tennis with his father, Chet, at the Roslyn Country Club, and I also played some tennis with Todd.

I'm still directing AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization, www.educationrevolution.org).  My latest book, School's Over, How to Have Freedom and Democracy in Education, was an Amazon best seller in its category.  I'm still playing table tennis, teaching it, and won the USA championship for over 70 in Westchester County.  Out next AERO conference will probably be in Portland, OR in June. 

1962 – Philip Christensen -


“I have appreciated getting reacquainted with Wheatley through the Alumni Newsletter.  I remember fondly the band and orchestra; in particular, our director, Gene Pearson, who took responsibility for what the judges perceived as our misreading of the opening bars of Beethoven's Egmont Overture.  (To a person, we all felt we had let him down.)  Three years ago, I retired after almost fifty years in higher education, and I'm not sure I have ever been truly comfortable in school.  In retirement, I have time to read and to continue scholarly writing.  I also engage in what I call "purposeful walking," made possible by living in Huntington Village, where I can walk to Cinema Arts Center, Book Rue, Wild by Nature, fine restaurants, and the village park and the harbor.  (Some weeks, I never get in the car.)  By the way, I recently pulled out my yearbook and discovered that no one wrote anything that might get flagged in a federal inquiry. I hope you can say the same for me!”

Writes Art - Philip’s senior quote is:  “Let all of my life be music.”  When I asked him for an update, he responded as follows:  “In college, I played beside "Bud" Herseth," legendary principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for over 50 years. Early in my adulthood, I played trumpet with the Great Neck Symphony.  In those days, we had major soloists like Leonard Rose and Pinchas Zuckerman and our music director was Sylvan Shulman, former concert master of the NBC Symphony under Toscanini.  More recently, I specialized in playing Baroque trumpet for Christian holy days.  Just recently, I stopped playing. I do most everything with my beautiful wife of forty-four years, Carol. Unfortunately, she is a Walt Whitman alum, but we can't hold that against her. I live in an apartment and decided others things were more important at this stage of my life.  

1967 – Art Engoron – With 1960s Wildcat Friends on October 17, 2018


With Keith Aufhauser, 1963.


And with Gerry Gersh, 1969, earlier that day.

1967 – Richard Holub – Small World in Florida

Writes Richard – “I have been in payroll services sales for 30 years.  My most recent company merged and let go 120 sales people…..I was one of the casualties!  I will be 70 next month, and even with my years of experience companies would rather hire people have my age...and half my salary!!  I was unemployed for a year when a hurricane impact window company approached me.  I thought I’d give it a try and put some food on the table.  At the interview the company representative and I started small talking and, as half of Long Island is down here…….small world!  She turned out to be Ilisa Bartner Chaconas, Wheatley 1982.  Her husband is a lawyer and she is a paralegal.  They are both very cordial, and we had fun reminiscing.  My son, Josh is 16 and in 11th grade... where did the time go?  [Editor’s note – “Hurricane impact windows” should be a booming business in Florida these days.]

1967 – Mary Ann Young Winiger – Guess Where?


Editor’s Note – No, that is not Mineola.  It is the Spanish Island of Ibiza, where Mary Ann lives.]

1968 – Kenny Gallard – Wheatley and War

Reading the latest newsletter, it amazes me how divisive the Vietnam War continues to be.  How even today there is so much pain and myth (the spitting on returning vets being debunked long ago) surrounding that event.  Obviously from the community we were raised in, there was certainly a lower percentage of service.  For me, once I was out of school (college included), so many of my friends were vets; several roommates during my ski bum years (and continuing).  Everything from ground force

Marine captains, Marine combat chopper pilots, Green Berets, you name it.  While most of them are proud at having served (and I respect them for it), for many there was also knowledge of the futility of the endeavor.  Still so sad.  And a toll that was way too high for any hoped-for accomplishment.

1970 – James Doyle – The Choppess Are Still Going Strong


Going up the stairs, left to right (all 1970 grads):

Jimmy Doyle, Bob Bush, Dave Berwald

Paul Seeth, Joe Sypien, Brian Lonegan

Drew Tressler, Walter McKenna

Steve Rosen, Doug Terris

Bob Abramowitz, Ricky Koch

Writes Jimmy – “The Choppess were The Wild Bunch of the Class of 1970.  This photo was taken at our mini-reunion on September 8, 2018 at Brian Lonegan's home in Cold Spring Harbor, NY.  We had a wonderful time and told many tales about our well-spent youth.  We greatly missed classmate Mark Vedder, who passed away earlier this year after a heroic and superhuman battle with heart disease.  He was toasted and celebrated many times at the party.  His wife of four decades, Cathy Vedder, was there and brought a huge file of Choppess memorabilia for us to enjoy.  Sixteen Choppess were at our 2016 reunion at Walter Vogt's home in Egromont, Massachusetts.  We are still a close-knit Band of Brothers and keep in touch with each other regularly, either in person or by Facebook or email. 

I am retired now, but keep incredibly busy since my kids saw fit to gift me five grandchildren in five years. When folks ask me what I did for the last 40 years, my reply is  "I studied to be a Grandpa".  Here's a picture of me and four of my "Angels" at our home in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.


Your brother Frank Engoron was one of my earliest friends from Bengeyfield Drive.  My mother, Rita Doyle, still lives in our home.  She was a great friend of your mom.  She will be 99 on New Year’s Eve and is still going strong.”

1971 – Merraine Sesskin – New Job

Writes Merrie – “I have joined Steven Feller PE as the Vice President of Marketing and New Business Development.  We provide Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing expertise and services in building design and construction.  With offices in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and NYC, we have 67 engineers who have worked on 90+ residential towers and 70+ hotels.  All is well in Boca Raton.”  Check out WWW.FELLERPE.COM

1973 – Edward B. (“Woody”) Ryder – A Lasting Wheatley Legacy

Long ago I learned never to under-estimate the influence of a teacher, or teachers.  In my case, that dates back to 1970, which was when the late Joan Feindler and Aline Desbonnet set me up on a family exchange to France, and a French high schooler over to East Williston.  It was Dr. Francois Senlecq, a cardio-vascular surgeon in northern France, with whom we first exchanged in 1970.  Since then, every year for the last 20, except for the summer of 2017, we have hosted French law students for extended summer weeks.  This is all thanks to Aline and Joan, and their unending influence.

Time does not erase my memories Wheatley.  This phenomenon adds a new annual definition to Edith Piaf's rendition of 'Je Ne Regret Rien.' 

where? where?

Joan Feindler


1974 + 1975 – Lasting Friendships: Annual Get-Togethers

A special camaraderie developed between the following mid-1970s Wheatley graduates: David Zazula (1974); Rick Weissman (1974); Jon Abby (1975); Larry Ensor (1975); Mark Harvey (1975); Jeff Karasyk (1975); Jon Mason (1975); Steve Nathan (1975); Andy Orshan (1975); Mitch Rieders (1975); Michael Sadowsky (1975); and Steven Starr (1975).  They have stayed good buddies all these years and still speak to and see each other regularly.  Best of all, every year for the past dozen or so years they have gathered in East Hampton at the house of gracious host Dave Zazula.  Writes one: “During these mini-reunions we share memories of our youth, some dating back to Northside and/or Willets Road, and the rest to our five years together at Wheatley.  We all have other friends, social media and otherwise, but cherish our 45+ year friendship among 12+ solid/true friends."     

The picture below is from the August 2018 gathering; from left to right:  Dave Zazula (1974), Steve Hirsch (1975), Mitch Rieders (1975), Jeff Karasyk (1975), Mark Harvey (1975), Larry Ensor (1975), Andy Orshan (1975), Fred W (a college friend), and Steve Nathan (1975).


1975 – Douglas Brumer - Deceased

Writes sister Amy Brumer (1977) – “With a heavy heart I inform you that my brother, Doug Brumer, passed away peacefully in early June 2018.  He was 61 and was an artist and writer.  At Wheatley Doug was an avid athlete and gifted student.  After Wheatley Doug graduated from Amherst College in MA.  He moved to Los Angeles and began screen-writing, screen-editing, and painting.  He was married twice and widowed twice by the time he was 40; no children.  He is buried in L.A. and is survived by his mother and two younger sisters, me and Julie Brumer Getman (1980).  Rest peacefully, Doug.”

1975 – Mark Harvey – Hanging out with Rock & Roll Royalty


Writes Mark:  “The  photo is from a recent Les Dudek concert.  Just four Wheatley boys hanging out with rock stardom at the new My Father’s Place in Roslyn: from L-R:  Artie Barnett, 1977; Jeff Karasyk, 1975; Michael "Eppy” Epstein, proprietor of My Father’s Place; Mark Harvey, 1975; Richard Biancavilla, 1975.

1982 – Ilsa Bartner Chaconas – See above at “Richard Holub – 1967”

Fan Mail:

Faculty (Steve Ehre) - Art: again, thanks for all you do. So many memories, of students and teachers.

1961 (Deborah Kerstein Brosowsky) – As always, thanks for the updates.

1961 (Eugene (“Gene”) A. Razzetti) - Great newsletter, as always.  Nice job remembering my pal Neil Tiebout.  It was great to hear from former pals and neighbors Neill and Norm Coffey (1960).  We agree on more than just who had the coolest cars.  [Editor’s note – When asked “Who did have the coolest cars?” Gene responded:  “Depends on who you ask.  The one unpardonable sin was to show up driving your parents' car.”]

1965 (Raymond Christian) - Thank you for your continued good work on the newsletter.  And thank you Ronald Judkoff for Saving the World from climate disaster.  We need more people like you to wake everybody up.

1966 – Suzanne Stone - Great job as always, Art....interesting, poignant and reflective. The number and variety of accomplished Wildcats is astounding!!!!  Thank you again & again!

1967 (Ginny Bindman Westerfeld) - Thanks again for all your efforts in keeping us connected.  News of the alumni is always interesting!

1967 (JoJo Gordon) – The newsletters are soooo informative.  I greatly appreciate them…..and how hard you work to keep us updated.

1967 (Joe Sciortino) - Thank you for keeping us informed about what our classmates and teachers are up to!

1967 (Mary Ann Young Winiger) - Photos are such fun.  I’m loving that you are including them in the newsletters.  It’s so great to see our friends from the long ago.  Notice I did not say “old” friends?

1970 (Jimmy Doyle) - I always enjoy reading your wonderful newsletters.  So many Wheatley alumni have gone on to make their mark on the world.  Thank you for all you do.

1971 (Susan Deaner Wiley) - Thank you for all you do for our community!

1971 (Merrie Sesskin) – Thank you!

1973 (Bonnie Greenberg) – Love the newsletters!

1973 (Edward B. “Woody” Ryder) – Nicely done, Kiddo.

1975 (Steven Nathan) – I enjoyed reading Newsletter # 23, especially the faculty updates.

1975 – Bill Palmer - Thank you.  I agree with my long-time buddy Steve Nathan (1975) that these updates are informative and nostalgic!

1977 (Amy Brumer) – Thanks for keeping us up-to-date on Wheatley.

1978 (Valerie Gomes) – Thanks Art.

1995 (Amanda Jo Miele) - I have told u this before but I am going to tell u again....u are amazing with these updates.  It’s always a pleasure to read and see what’s going on.

1996 (Scott Schreiber) - Thank you for all of your newsletters - I read them and enjoy them.  


That’s it for the Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 24. Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.

Art Engoron,  '67, 646-872-4833,  WWW.WHEATLEYALUMNI.ORG

Keep in touch!

Contact Art:      artengoron@gmail.com Tel: 646-872-4833            © Wheatley Alumni Association 2018